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Popular Religion in the Middle Ages: Western Europe 1000-1300

af Rosalind Brooke

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
1112196,210 (4)Ingen
Here is the first general account of the religious and irreligious ideas entertained by the populace at large in the Middle Ages. Between 1000 and 1300, vital changes took place in thought and art and religious inspiration, and the renewal of urban life in a world still centered on the feudal knight and peasant. How can we enter the minds of the mass of the people during those centuries? How did laymen look upon bishops and popes, the Bible, the saints; how did they regard judgment, heaven and hell? The answers to such questions lie in what remains of the churches in which people worshipped, in the images of stone and glass they valued, in contemporary poems and songs, and in other scattered sources. But the evidence requires careful and imaginative interpretation, and this the authors have provided, bringing each theme to life in text and pictures and expertly supplying the framework of a historical context.--From publisher description.… (mere)
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I enjoyed reading this, but I think it misses the point. One has to leave aside that it is overambitious to try to present popular religion in all of Western Europe over a 200 year time frame in slightly over 150 pages. The book has interesting and fun descriptions of some Medieval religious practices, including the veneration of some dubious relics, in the first few chapters before getting into denser descriptions of broad themes like the Bible in the Middle Ages and Judgement, Heaven, and Hell in the later chapters. But it almost entirely draws its information from the writings and monuments of the elite. A description of how common people were exposed to, and indoctrinated into, religion in the Middle Ages isn't the same thing as a study of popular religion. They describe illustrations in Psalters and carvings in cathedrals, but by their very nature these are works of the elites, even if they are visible by commoners (which some of the items discussed probably weren't). Entire streams of evidence, such as archaeological finds and court records, are completely ignored, while the historical documents analyzed are not adequately examined for the views of the populace. For some topics, such as witchcraft, the authors completely dismiss the topic, claiming they can't get at it, which is untrue. The book also ignores such ubiquitous elements of popular religion as holy wells (not mentioned once in the text), votive offerings, and shrines maintained by laypeople. (All of this can be read about in Ralph Merrifield's The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic, which was published at about the same time.) The book is interesting for what it is, but could more accurately be titled something like, Religion as Presented to the Populace.
1 stem marc_beherec | Oct 14, 2017 |
ILLUSTRATED; BIBLIOGRAPHY
  saintmarysaccden | Jul 29, 2013 |
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When we started to collect material for this book in the early 1970s, popular religion was a neglected subject: we had the idea of forming the spearhead of a revival.
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Here is the first general account of the religious and irreligious ideas entertained by the populace at large in the Middle Ages. Between 1000 and 1300, vital changes took place in thought and art and religious inspiration, and the renewal of urban life in a world still centered on the feudal knight and peasant. How can we enter the minds of the mass of the people during those centuries? How did laymen look upon bishops and popes, the Bible, the saints; how did they regard judgment, heaven and hell? The answers to such questions lie in what remains of the churches in which people worshipped, in the images of stone and glass they valued, in contemporary poems and songs, and in other scattered sources. But the evidence requires careful and imaginative interpretation, and this the authors have provided, bringing each theme to life in text and pictures and expertly supplying the framework of a historical context.--From publisher description.

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